On March 21st, 2019 the government of Ontario announced updates on the recent changes related to the Ontario Autism Program (OAP).
In early February the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) announced significant changes to the OAP. Since then, the Ministry has made another set of updates.
Here’s what we know so far:
- Income testing will be eliminated. A Childhood Budget will now be available to all families with a written diagnosis of autism for a child or youth under the age of 18. This includes the previously announced amounts of $20,000 annually for children under six and $5,000 per year for those six and over.
- Expanding the list of eligible services. Families will now be able to access a broader list of eligible services such as speech language pathology, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The MCCSS website will host a complete list of these services in early April.
- All children who currently have an Ontario Autism Program Behaviour Plan will continue to receive the services outlined in that plan until its end date. Families will then be able to renew it for six months at its current level of intensity.
- The announcement also included a commitment to consult with parents over the next several months to access options for providing support.
Children’s Treatment Network (CTN) is the Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnostic Hub in Central Region covering Simcoe, York, Dufferin, Halton, Peel, Waterloo and Wellington. CTN is not a provider of behaviour-based intervention services in York and Simcoe, though we work closely with partners who provide this service: Kerry’s Place, Kinark Child and Family Services and Mackenzie Health's Centre for Behaviour Health Sciences.
We appreciate this announcement has a significant impact on many of the children, youth and families we are fortunate enough to work with. As always, clients and families are encouraged to stay informed about changes affecting the OAP via the Ministry’s website and to speak with your service providers.
For information on community supports and services please connect with CTN via our ACCESS team at 1-866-377-0286. CTN and our staff remain committed to building brighter futures together.